November 23, 1968.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


Dearest Rita,

How’s my spoiled wife-to-be?  If she’s as happy as I am right now she’s doing good.  At least I know for sure we’re going to get married!  Nothing could be greater, and I hope the time between now and then will go fast.  I’m sure it will, especially with all the planning.  Of course you’ll be doing most of that.

I finally got three of your letters today.  I’m sorry you had to call because of them, but often letters lose a day at this end.  But it sure was good to talk to you, hon.  Your letters really made me realize how much planning and how many arrangements must be made for a wedding.  It’s too bad we didn’t start making plans earlier, but…

I’ve got about a million questions to try [to] answer and to ask from your letters.  So I’ll just start with the first one and go down the list, okay?

First of all, your folks acted just about the way I figured they would.  Now that they’re getting used to the idea I know we’ll have their full support.  Did I ever tell you that you have just about the greatest set of parents you could get?  I think so anyway, and I’m sure you agree.

No, I don’t mind getting married at your church – in fact, I’ve never told you this, but I’d prefer to.  I think my church is too damn big for anything but a great big wedding.

What the heck am I going to do for attendants?  I always figured on Dex as best man, but then there’s Bob, Jim, and Galen to consider too.  But, if you’re going to have Brenda and your little cousin, who will I get for opposite them?  Any suggestions?  I know Bob, Jim, and Galen will understand that it just wouldn’t be a big enough wedding to include them.

Yes, you will definitely have to see a doctor about some pills.  Because if you weren’t on pills when we got married I have a feeling you’d be very pregnant before long.  We’d have a honeymoon baby for sure, only I wouldn’t be there when it was born.  And if something were to happen to me in Nam, it would be bad enough to leave a wife, let alone a child.

As far as leave goes, it’s all a screwed up mess.  I don’t think even our C.O. knows what kind of leave policy we’ll have after Christmas.  But I will talk to him before I call you Wednesday and find out what I can.  I’m pretty sure I can swing it though.

I’m going to call my folks tonight and talk it over with them.  I don’t think there will be any problem though.  You only thing I hope is that mom doesn’t try too hard to help you plan our wedding.  I don’t think so though.  Don’t be afraid to go to my [mom] with any problems or questions or any help you need.

This is Sunday now.  I talked to my folks last night, and it went just about like I figured it would.  They weren’t too enthusiastic about us getting married before I go over, but they know that if we’ve made up our minds we’ll do it anyway.  They just asked that we give it a lot of thought, and I told them we have thought it over pretty thoroughly.  So – they know what’s pulling off.  I suggested they talk to your folks soon.  I think that will make them a little more receptive to the idea.

Mom brought up one point I hadn’t even thought of.  Most churches, and I’m sure yours is this way, require some premarital counseling with the minister before a marriage.  Usually this is over a period of time and includes several meetings with him.  That would be impossible since I wouldn’t be home until about a week or so before the wedding.  Why don’t you talk to Reverend Pittinger about this and see what is required and how we can arrange it?

Okay, back to your letters.  Yes, I really like the gallon you picked.  But you know I can’t look at a picture and tell if it would look good on you or not.  I like to dress though, and if that’s what you want you definitely have my approval.

As far as a honeymoon goes, I don’t know how much of one we can swing, honey.  I’d like to take off for at least a week or 10 days and go pretty much where we want to in that time.  I’m sure my folks will help us out on that.  I would’ve liked to get a cabin in the mountains in Colorado or someplace, but I’m afraid the middle of winter isn’t the time for something like that.  Or perhaps we could use Marvin Larson’s cabin in the Black Hills for awhile.  Let me know what you’d like though, because our honeymoon is going to be the way you want it.

I don’t know if my military title should be on the announcements are not.  I would guess that it would be.  Here’s another thing… do you think I should wear my dress greens or a civilian suit?  I’m in favor of my greens, since I’m in the service.  And that would save us some money I’d need for a new suit.  All I’d have to get is a saucer hat to wear instead of my service hat.

I think it would be great to have Strat-Phill sing at our wedding.  And if you want another suggestion for song, how about “He.”  If I remember right it was sung at Galen and Anne’s wedding, and I loved it.  But again, it’s up to you, like so much of the planning and work involved will be.  Sure wish I could be there to help.

Rita, you asked if I really felt we should wait, if I was sure about getting married now.  Honey, there’s only one thing that I’m sure of, and that is my love for you.  There’s nothing compared to it.  I know I want to marry you and live with you forever.  I do question whether or not getting married now is the wisest choice, but I don’t feel that can be answered yet.  All I know is that we won’t be sorry for going ahead and getting married now.  It won’t be easy, but with our love for each other it will all work out for the best.  With a wife like you, we’ve got it made.

If I write much more I won’t be able to get this in an envelope.  I’m counting the days – 61 – until we’re man and wife.  Until then remember that my love for you grows with every day.  The thought of being your husband makes me happier than I ever dreamed possible.

All my love,

Jeff


Looks like I need to get the recording of their wedding ready to go!

Ethan

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